EASTON U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md.-1st, wants more sanity brought to the nation's energy policy and thinks the focus should shift from alternative energies such as solar and wind to a controversial natural gas collection process commonly known as fracking.
Harris, in a speech given at a Talbot County Republican Central Committee fundraiser Thursday, threw his support behind hydrofracturing the process, as described by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, of pumping fluids deep into a rock formation until the pressure causes it to fracture and release natural gas.
Last year, Congress ordered the EPA to undertake a study of fracking to learn more about the process' potential effects on water systems. The documentary "Gasland" was released the same year and showed some of the side potential dangers of fracking, notably flammable tap water at nearby homes due to gas contamination.
Harris told the crowd Thursday U.S. President Barack Obama has got to stop raising taxes and stop creating more regulations holding businesses back. He said the country also needs to change its energy policy.
"We have got to get American energy policy sane. Let me put it that way," Harris said.
Harris, chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Environment Subcommittee, told the crowd Thursday he had to travel to western Pennsylvania to visit a fracking site, and blamed Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley for the lack of one in Maryland.
Harris found in Pennsylvania all the hotels booked solid by workers who traveled from Louisiana and Texas drilling wells for fracking. He said he stood on a fracking field expected to yield $100 million worth of natural gas per year.
"You can't imagine the resources we are standing on top of and this administration is stopping us from that gold rush that they're seeing in western Pennsylvania," Harris said.
Harris said Pennsylvania five years ago faced high unemployment and a poor economy. He said officials recognized those natural gas resources in the state were the key to turning around the situation.
"Ladies and gentlemen, if we want to get out of this mess, it's going to be very simple. Stop investing in Solyndra and offshore wind and start producing the natural gas that will make us the energy leaders of the world," Harris said.
Solyndra is a solar company that made headlines after receiving more than $500 million in government loans, yet has filed for bankruptcy.
Harris said Obama is not a leader. He said Obama could go to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and say the country needs to explore for natural gas, quickly and safely develop fracking and open up offshore leases for oil.
"Let me tell you something. This is America. We've got plenty of imagination. We've got plenty of ambition, but it's being held back because this president doesn't understand what it is to unleash the ability of America," Harris said.